Manufacturing consent: mediated sporting spectacle and the cultural politics of the ‘War on Terror’

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Abstract:

Within the voluminous range of popular and academic commentaries interrogating the cultural politics of ‘post 9/11 America’, observations on the role of the US corporate media in echoing, and indeed amplifying, political doctrines following the non-stateterror attacks of September 11, 2001 are prominent. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, key themes of media discourse included public mobilization through jingoistic icons and ‘war’ rhetoric; the vilification of culprits; omissions of reference to alternative culpable agents; exceptional support for President Bush and the political administration; neglect or manipulation of history to eliminate information that might undermine support for the ‘War on Terror’; the uncritical acceptance of ‘official’ interpretations; and, strategies of censorship and intimidation of media dissenters (Boyd-Barrett 2003). Crucially, the partisan role of the media in expressing outrage and preparing the public for retribution was veiled in the rhetoric of impartiality. For Boyd-Barrett (2003) the media role was one of ‘foreclosing doubt’ concerning understandings and explanations of events. These constructions within agenda-establishing corporate media were, and continue to be, significant in the framing of responses to the horrific terror acts.

Keywords: censorship; corporate media agendas; manipulation; media dissenters; official interpretations; rhetoric of impartiality

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/macp.1.1.59/3

Affiliations: 1: University of Otago 2: Department of Kinesiology, University of Maryland

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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